Tonya Dalton is joining me today for part one of a really amazing conversation! In today’s episode we’re talking all about building teamwork into your family. Tonya is the owner of Inkwell Press and she’s also the author of the book, The Joy Of Missing Out. I’m so excited to have her join me on The Purpose Show! Let’s jump in!
In This Episode Allie and Tonya discuss:
Involving your kids in your business
Having an identity outside of your kids
The importance of structure and flexibility
Intentionally raising responsible kids
The myth of balance and how to lean into your season
Mentioned in this Episode:
Courses (Use the code PURPOSESHOW for 10% off!)
Who doesn’t love a GIVEAWAY?
Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You’ll be entered to win one of Allie’s amazing courses for FREE!
Mom life. We’re surrounded by the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. We’re supposed to get through it. Survive. Cling on by the last little thread. And at the same time, Carpe Diem—enjoy every moment because it’s going to go by so fast. The typical mom culture that sends us all kinds of mixed, typically negative messages: We shouldn’t take care of ourselves; it’s selfish. The more ragged you run yourself, the bigger your badge of honor. But also, ditch your mom bod and work out. Don’t yell. Make more money. Show up. Be better, but not at the expense of time with your kids. I am putting a hard stop to all of this. While being a mom, running a business, and whatever else you might have going on is hard. It is a lot and there’s lots of giving of yourself. The idea that motherhood means living a joyless, nonstop-hustle-with-zero-balance kind of life where you give and give and give and never take, needs to stop.
I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime (at least most days). Stop the mom guilt and shame game. Stop cleaning up after your kids’ childhood and start being present for it. I want to help you thrive in work, home and life. I believe in John 10:10 that we are called to living an abundant life and I know moms are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, some business and life hacks, spirituality and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
Hi friends! I have an incredible episode for you today. It is so good!
We’ve never talked about some of this stuff on The Purpose Show and I am so honored to bring my friend Tonya Dalton to you today. Tonya is the owner of Inkwell Press and she’s the author of the book, The Joy Of Missing Out, which is so good.
I’ve actually read it twice now and I’m obsessed. So good!
We’re doing a book club about this book this month with Tonya live in the Facebook community. If you’re not already a part of The Purpose Show community on Facebook, get your butt over there and join! It’s going to be so good.
This episode is so great! We’re talking about building teamwork into your family and all kinds of good mom stuff.
So let’s just dive right in and welcome Tonya. This is going to be amazing!
ALLIE: Okay guys, I’m here with my friend Tonya Dalton. Hi Tonya!
TONYA: Hello! How are you?
ALLIE: Where are you at your house right now? What’s your situation?
TONYA: In my house? Where am I?
ALLIE: Yeah, what do you do?
TONYA: I’m sitting in my closet. This is where I like to record podcasts because it’s away from my kids.
It’s totally quiet. And I feel like it’s a little private space. I record my own podcast here in my closet.
ALLIE: I love it and it’s like a sound box. It is actually really good for the sound.
TONYA: I feel like a lot of times people see all this stuff online and they think, “Oh, I can’t start a podcast until I have this Pinterest-worthy space.”
Here’s the thing, you can start a podcast in your closet. All 180 episodes of my podcast have been recorded here in my closet.
The clothes on all four sides of me add a little bit of a buffer for the sound. It really is ideal.
You don’t have to have everything perfect. Just get started.
ALLIE: And your podcast is a big deal. You have a lot of downloads and a lot of listeners. You’re an amazing author.
This is how we podcast. I’m sitting on my bed right now and I just want to describe it.
I shut the blinds. I turned the fan on. I’m sitting here in this cold oasis on my comfy bed.
I love that you’re in your closet and you’re always in there when you are recording. That’s great. It’s a little piece of “real” for people because everyone thinks that if you’ve “made it,” everything is perfect.
TONYA: Ask my kids how impressed they are with me and they will say, “She’s just the lady who makes my dinner.”
I get asked all the time, “Are your kids so impressed that you published a book with a major publisher?” And I say, “No, not really. They just think I’m mom.”
ALLIE: I love that. That’s how it should be. My kids are a little bit younger than yours. Yours are in junior high and high school?
TONYA: Yeah, they are. They’re big kids now. They’re taller than me.
We measured Kate the other day and she’s maybe half a centimeter taller than me and she is so excited about it. And now I’m the official short person in my family. I’m only 5’3” so I’m always the shortest person in the room.
ALLIE: Oh my gosh, I’m almost 5’8”.
I think it’s good the way that your kids don’t feel like it’s a huge deal.
TONYA: Yeah. It’s a part of their regular life. They don’t think anything of the fact that their mom is a business woman and doing these things that I do with podcasting, publishing books, or running a business.
For them, that’s just what a mom does. They don’t know any different, so they don’t question it.
They’re not really impressed, but they are very proud of it. It’s a part of “normal” to them, which I love that it’s their normal. They think, “Don’t all moms do this?”
ALLIE: I don’t know if it was a mistake, but I used to hide the business and all the things from the kids. And I think it had something to do with the virality, specifically my viral post from 2016.
It was just such a big deal, so explosive, and it was so weird. People were wanting to come to our house—film crews and all of these news people—and I was worried.
I had gotten thrown into it and I thought, “Oh my God, what if people try to find my kids?” I just didn’t know anything.
Now I know there’s certain safety things you can do to feel protected while still sharing your life. But I was scared and so I hid everything from them and I never let them see any of the times I was on TV.
Then one day, two years ago, we got Direct TV (we normally don’t have TV service, but we got it for football) and we went by the Hallmark Channel and they happened to be airing my special that I was on and my name was on the list. What are the odds of that?
They watched it and they said, “What the heck?” They were so shocked. And I felt sad.
That was a turning point. Now they are super involved. They help me with everything. Even if they’re not really helping, they’re involved with stuff.
TONYA: We’ll say involved rather than helping. I’m a huge advocate for that too, really getting your kids involved.
I think my kids think it’s totally normal that I say, “Okay, I’ve got to go upstairs and do a TV interview.” And they say, “All right, well when’s the snack?”
I’m a really big advocate for bringing your kids into that space and really letting them see you because I think it is so important for your kids to see you in that role outside of mother. I think that it is wonderful, fulfilling, and amazing to be a mom. I absolutely love it.
But I also love that there are other parts to me. I love that my kids see that there are other parts to me, that I have passions and dreams outside of them because I think that really helps them.
Kids are so naturally egocentric, they feel like the whole world revolves around them. That’s kind of how it is being a kid when you’re younger.
But if everything you’re doing is constantly in service of your children and your identity is so tucked into that niche of, “I’m a mom,” what does that look like when your kids leave your nest? What does that look like as you’re working to create independent children?
That’s really one of my biggest goals as a mom is to have kids who are not just well adjusted, with morals, but also really, really strong in their independence. I want my kids able to go out into the world and not just survive but thrive.
I feel like if I had all of my identity tied to being a mom, it would be so hard to watch them do things independently because that would be them breaking away from me. Instead, I see it as almost this extension of me, right?
I do the things that I do to help them grow and then they take it from there. That’s what I love about the age that my kids are at.
You’ll start to see in the next few years that you start to really see those things that you’ve done for your children start to really take hold. All those things that you thought, “Oh my gosh, this is wearing me out.” The investments of time and energy, you really start to see that flourish and grow as they get older.
My kids right now are like these little mini adults who are making big decisions in their lives. You’re watching it happen and it makes you so freaking proud and so excited for what the future holds for them. I think that’s really what it’s all about.
ALLIE: What is the opposite of that? If you do everything for your kids and your identity is wrapped up in raising them. Have you seen a specific situation of how that’s gone?
TONYA: I have friends who are really having a hard time as their kids get to my kids’ ages. My kids are 13 and 17 right now.
They get to this age where everything they’ve done has been revolving around their kids and now that their kids are creating this life for themselves, they’ve had a really hard time letting go of that. Kids start to have this whole other world that you’re not a part of, friends that you don’t know at school and things that they’re doing that are outside of you.
Obviously, as a mom you’re monitoring it and you’re making sure that everything is still really good, but you have to let your hands out. Sometimes you have to let them go.
They’re going to have times where they’re going to try things, they’re going to fail, or they’re going to make bad choices. But it’s so good to allow them to do that right now because you’re there to help them see the lessons, help them see that there’s resiliency that comes with that.
There’s all these benefits that come from failing, and then helping them get back on it. You know what I mean?
I think that if you tie yourself so closely to being a mom, hovering over them, and doing everything for them, they lose those opportunities to spread their wings and test out the waters.
ALLIE: I’m imagining the first piece of that is how you run your home and your family culture. Everyone helps and all of that.
Can we get specific with what that looked like when your kids were younger with basic things like chores?
Let me start by saying that I feel like we are such a flowy family. We don’t have a ton of crazy structure.
I have a deadline where I want to be done with work for the day and that’s pretty much it. I guess maybe our weakness in that would be sometimes I realize no one did their chores and were just playing on the iPad.
Then I have to say, “Hey, hey, hey, we’re not doing that. Come over here, do the dishes.”
I’m not a super fan of rigidity, but I know where I need it. I know where it serves me so that I can be more spontaneous.
I know where I’m being crazy and it’s too Type A to make me happy. I need some work there.
So, talk to me about what that looked like for you in a way that you felt was really serving your family when your kids were learning to be a part.
TONYA: I love that question. I think that a lot of times when people hear that I’m a productivity expert, or they look at the things I do, they think, “You must be super, super structured.”
And I think, “Oh that sounds awful.” I’ve got to be honest that the idea of being super structured and really, really rigid does not appeal to me in the least.
It’s really the opposite of what I teach because I use words like “flexibility” and “grace” a lot. I think you need flexibility and grace because life requires it. It really does.
You need to be able to have those ebbs and flows. There’s different seasons where different things are happening.
One of the things that I dive into in the book, The Joy Of Missing Out, is this whole idea of setting up a little bit of structure. You want to have some structure.
Think of it in terms of what your body is like with a skeleton. Your bones are what hold your body up.
They don’t make you run. They don’t make you walk. Your muscles let you do that.
But if you didn’t have that bone structure, you wouldn’t be able to make those choices to run, walk, skip, hop, jump, or do those different things. That’s what good structure does. It gives you a framework that has flexibility built into it so that you can allow life to happen.
I think when we overstructure or overschedule, it’s so rigid that it shatters like glass. Especially with being a mom, we all know that life is not going to be, “At 8:00 this happens and at 9:00 this happens.”
You are going to be really disappointed if you think life is going to be a really orderly kind of a thing because kids have their own agendas.
I call my family a team. We refer to ourselves as “Team Dalton” because truly we all work together. All of us work together to support and encourage each other.
That means I am supporting and encouraging my kids. My husband’s doing that, too. But my kids are also supporting and encouraging me.
We sit down and we talk about, “Okay, mom’s got a crazy week at work this week, so what are you guys going to do to help pick up the slack for what mom normally does? How can we work together?”
There’s this shifting of who needs more support this week. Let’s all come together as a team and help support that person.
It might be me one week. Another week it might be Jack, my son. Another week, it might be Kate, my daughter. It really does shift and grow.
One of the things that we do is we have team meetings on Sundays. I have a team meeting with my team at work on Mondays and on Sundays it’s all about my family.
We do team planning together where we come together. It is a 15-20 minute meeting that we have together where we sit down and discuss, “Okay, what do we have going on this week? Jack, you’ve got play practice on these days. Kate has volleyball on these days.”
We write it all down and then we go through and we talk about what projects we have going on. If Jack has a project, I’ll say, “What are you going to work on this week for this project?”
I have them actively choose what they’re doing. I really think it’s important to give your kids choices and some autonomy over their projects and their goals, so they can really be the bus driver for that.
ALLIE: We talk a lot on The Purpose Show about Sunday night prep. It’s this meeting that I started having with Brian, my husband.
We’ve started involving the kids in it and that’s been really good in terms of schedule and knowing who’s going where and when, what is going on with schoolwork, and how we are doing with everything. We rarely skip it but when we do miss it, I feel it.
It’s awful. It’s like night and day.
TONYA: It really is. It’s like touching base with what’s going on.
It’s deeper than that question of, “What happened at school today?”
Instead it’s, “What’s going on in your life? Let’s figure out what’s happening.”
We write it down and we post it. Everybody’s in charge of themselves. Everybody knows what chores they’re in charge of.
Kate knows that volleyball happens at 4:00 and so at 3:30 she needs to have her kneepads ready, she needs to have her volleyball shoes on. The whole nine yards. She’s in charge of it.
My kids know that they’re supposed to check the weekly kickstart each day. They come home and check it and they know what they’re in charge of. And that saves me from being a micromanager or the nagger.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t love nagging. I don’t like saying, “Get your shoes! Get your shoes!” over and over again.
That’s not really fulfilling to me personally. You may be very different.
You might love screaming at your kids, telling them to pick up their same things five times. But I don’t think anybody feels that way.
ALLIE: It’s a killer of all good in the family. Now they feel like you’re yelling at them, which you are.
You feel frustrated that nobody can do anything but you, which is the lie that we all fall for every now and then. There’s so much wrapped up in that.
It’s ruining your peace. It’s ruining a piece of your family culture that you’ve worked so hard to build.
TONYA: It’s so true. Part of our family culture is we have a family mission statement and we have our core values that we talk about and one of them is the word “mindful.” We use the word “mindful” all the time.
There’s this idea of mindfulness, this intentional living that I think is really important. I’ll use my daughter, Kate, and volleyball as an example.
If volleyball is important to you, then you need to be intentional with it. When you have practice, you need to be ready to go.
If you’re not ready to go, it is not my job to remind you, to get you ready to go out the door. That’s your job. It really is giving some of that power over to them.
I think you’re so right with that lie that we tell ourselves that nobody else can do it or I have to do everything. That’s not true at all. Absolutely 100% not true.
It’s because we are afraid to give somebody else control. We’re afraid they’re not going to do it as well as we are, nobody else can do it, or we think that we’re protecting our jobs.
ALLIE: In the past when I was living in that place, I thought, “Okay, what is this? Where is this coming from so I can pull that root out and just solve the problem once and for all.”
And it’s really an issue of control. It’s an issue of control and worry that it’s not going to get done. Who cares?
TONYA: And perfectionism, right? What is everybody else going to think?
What’s everybody else going to think of me if you show up and you don’t have your hair brushed, or if you don’t have your knee pads on for volleyball? What are all the other moms going to say about me?
Instead of saying, you know what? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m teaching my kids how to do this.
We get really caught up in what everybody else thinks. If we consistently live our lives worrying about disappointing other people, the only person we’re going to disappoint is ourselves.
ALLIE: That’s really good.
All right, loves. I’ve got some really good news that I think a lot of you are going to do a happy dance about because it’s something that I’ve been asked to do for a long time.
I am doing a book club to kick off summer. Our guest today, Tonya Dalton, wrote a book called The Joy Of Missing Out: Live More By Doing Less. You know this is my style!
Tonya is a wealth of wisdom. She is going to come into The Purpose Show community on Facebook. It’s a Facebook group that has existed for a long time, so if you’re not in there, we’ve got to get you over there.
She’s going to go live with me. We’re going to sit and talk two separate times over the course of a couple of weeks. We’re going to talk about the book.
She’s going to answer questions. You can make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, relax, and just enjoy the inspiring conversation, or you can use the chat to talk to her and ask her questions.
This is, of course, free! To join, go to alliecasazza.com/bookclub and that page will link you to buying the book through Amazon so it comes quickly, and then go to the Facebook community where you can join for the discussion.
Tonya’s going to be going live twice in the group with us to discuss all the things: the book, productivity, living a good life that’s focused on what matters. It’s Tuesday, June 16th and Tuesday, June 23rd at 10:00 AM Pacific, both days.
Even if you can’t come live, which I hope you can, you can join the community and watch the replay because that’s going to be some serious inspiration. It’s basically like two extra episodes of the show, but live.
alliecasazza.com/bookclub. Go over there, get ready and let’s do this!
ALLIE: With the whole volleyball example that you gave of, “It’s your responsibility.” What age did you start giving your kids that responsibility for themselves?
TONYA: My kids are 13 and 17 now. I can tell you that some of the listeners are saying, “Well, it’s easier because her kids are older.”
But I started doing this when my kids were really, really little. And that’s not to say that if your kids are older, you can’t start now; the time to start is now. But I started it when my kids were really little.
When my kids were three years old, I would sit down and we would start having these team meetings. And because they weren’t readers, we would use pictures.
I would cut out pictures of clipart and I would post them. I would have the time written down when they were supposed to be at a different place.
I put a digital clock out so they could tell what time it was. We would do countdown timers and different things like that, so they were a little bit more in control.
We have this thing inside of our brains called the internal locus of control. And it really is what decides our happiness and our satisfaction with life and how in control we feel over our lives as a whole.
Whether it’s us driving the bus or whether it’s the universe. We strengthen that internal locus of control by making choices.
Giving your kids the ability to make choices really allows them to stand up with more confidence and feel like they have a little bit of control over their day. I think that really helps empower them and has them feel a lot better.
We would do it with pictures. Obviously it was way more simplified.
In preschool, Kate had to bring a bag on Fridays and we’d have different things in it that started with the same letter. We would say, “Okay, what’s the letter of the week for this week?”
And she would say, “Here’s the letter of the week.” And I’d say, “Okay, so you’re supposed to have five items. How do you want to do it?”
And she’d say, “Well, each day I’m going to pick one item from around the house that starts with that letter.”
Right then, I was already taking a “project” (putting things in a bag) and I would have her figure out how she wanted this to work.
Now, my job as her mom was to guide her. If she said, “Well, I’m just gonna wait until Thursday night and do it all.”
I would say, “Well okay, you could do that or would you like another idea?” We would talk about it.
Sometimes I would let her try to wait till Thursday and wait until she failed with it. And we would talk about it, “Okay, what could we do better next time?”
It’s all that mothering component that we’re all so good at where we’re helping to guide them to get them to the right choices, but we’re giving them the autonomy to be able to choose. You can definitely simplify it and make it work. As your kids get bigger and bigger, they can take on more.
This is how I have my kids now doing all the house laundry and all their own laundry. It’s a step-by-step process.
I didn’t start with them doing all the laundry. It was these little tiny investments over time that I made, so now they’re doing that.
ALLIE: When you were more in the kid season, less the preteen/teenage season, did you guys have rules? What were the rules?
If you’re giving them freedom, and I get all that giving them responsibility to make the decisions, what was the rigidity like? Did you have a no tech until chores and homework rule? What did that look like for you?
TONYA: Things like tech we would have certain parameters on. We would say, “Okay, when you come home from school, you can have 30 minutes of playtime.”
And we would set a timer so they could see how much time they had. Then it’s time to get to either chores or schoolwork or something like that.
But to be honest with you, we would sit down and talk about that as a family. What would feel good to you?
A lot of times your kids don’t want to walk in the door and tackle their homework. Some kids totally want to do it. It depends on your kid.
With productivity, and with anything else, people want to know, “What’s the magic formula? What’s the system that I need to implement right now?”
And here’s the truth. It really is something that has to be customized and personalized to you.
That’s what I walk people through in the book and in my programs. Let’s customize it so it really plays to your strengths and your weaknesses.
You might have a kid who says, “I want to come home and I want to knock my homework out so then I can totally do whatever I want for the rest of the day.”
Katie is that way; Jack not so much.
With Jack, it’s this conversation of, “All right, let’s have a little bit of playtime, a little bit of free time. How long do you think is a good idea?” And we would come up with that together, with me obviously driving the bus there.
Again, it’s this whole idea of giving my kids choices. Let me give you this example of how I give choices. This is all based on love and logic, which is one of my favorite parenting techniques.
Let’s say that I want to leave the park at 2:00. At 1:55 I would say to my kids, “All right guys, time to leave the park or would you rather stay and play for five more minutes?”
What do you think they said every time? “I want to play,” right?
I’d say, “Okay, five more minutes.” At the end of that five minutes, it’s 2:00, which is what time I wanted to leave the park, right? It really was my choice, but I gave them choices there.
At 2:00 when I’d say, “Alright, it’s been five minutes, it’s time for us to go,” and they’d throw a tantrum and say, “I don’t wanna leave the park.” I’d say, “Oh, this is so sad. You know, we played at the park and then I gave you a choice for five more minutes. That was your choice. Now this is my choice. And now it’s time for us to leave.”
I was still in control of those choices.
When I gave them a choice when they were five years old of what shirt did they want to wear, the red or blue shirt? Both were long sleeved because it was cold outside, right?
They’re still choosing what shirt they want, but I’m actively making those choices for them as well. I’m guiding them towards those good choices.
That really plays out as they get older because at the age that my son is now, the choices are big, right? I mean there’s drug dogs that go through the school. There are kids he knows who make bad choices.
But because I have set him up with making choices all throughout and feeling like he’s in control, now we’re at a point where he’s telling me stories and I ask, “Okay, what did you choose here?”
He’ll tell me a story and say, “I chose this.” Then I’ll say, “Okay, good.” He feels confident in making his choice.
When he is young and he’s choosing between the red shirt and the blue shirt, who cares? I don’t care at all.
When it comes down to, “Are you going to do drugs or not do drugs?” I care. I really care.
I want him to have the tools in his toolbox to know that first of all, he can make choices and that he can make good choices because he’s got a strong internal locus of control. He feels more in charge of him. And that’s really what makes the difference.
You start sprinkling this in as they get older and as they continue and then the choices get bigger and the choices get bigger. And it’s the same thing with figuring out their schedules, giving them some choices, but you’re still really in charge.
You’re the one at the top guiding all the puppets. That’s you, but you’re doing it behind-the-scenes so they feel like they have that control. Does that make sense?
ALLIE: Yeah, it totally does. I went to a super religious school and I came from this background of “spare the rod, spoil the child.”
I feel like Brian and I are parenting the kids in this mutual respect sort of way where we say, “You have a voice; talk to me. If you feel like these limits are not working for you, come to us and we will work something out with you. But this is what we feel is the best thing for right now.”
I feel like what you’re saying really fits well into that. It’s like boundaries with your kids and it feels very healthy and respectful.
TONYA: I think boundaries are so important. I give an example in the book when we talk about boundaries.
We think that boundaries are confining, they’re constraining, or they force us into a small area. But I want to share an example that I heard a long time ago that I think really explains how boundaries work so well.
If your kids were to go to school next to a busy road and there’s no fence for the playground, the teachers are going to keep the kids close by the building because they don’t want them to get too close to the busy road. They don’t want the balls to go into the street, so the kids have this very small area to play.
But if you choose instead to create a boundary and put a fence around the playground, still next to a busy road, the kids can play in all the corners. They can play kickball over here, tag and chase over there. They have the full playground to play in because they have those boundaries.
I think boundaries truly do set you free. It gives you the opportunity to really explore, play, and know your outer limits. I think knowing that really does empower you in so many different ways.
ALLIE: Yeah, that’s really, really good. I love this so much.
I love the way that you’ve raised your kids and are raising your kids, still. It’s very life-giving for them and for you. You don’t seem to be super bogged down with all this.
I think coming out of the little years, it’s just a lot. There’s nothing they can really do for themselves for a very long time.
Even if you are feeding them little bits of responsibility here and there, at some point it feels like all-of-a-sudden they can totally do stuff and you realize, “Hey, you’re really lazy. Let’s change this.”
I really love how you’ve been intentional and it sounds like it’s very feeling-oriented for you. You think, “I feel like you’re old enough to do the laundry now,” and you just make that decision.
TONYA: It’s that conversation, too, with them of, “Oh, I’m seeing you.” Because really all we all want is to be seen, loved and respected.
And your kids are no different than you. They want to be seen and they want to be seen for the good they’re doing.
So, when you see them and you say, “I see you stepping up and taking responsibility. I love that. I love how hard you’re working. I think it’s time for you to take on a little more responsibility.” That’s a very proud moment for them.
They don’t feel like, “Oh mom’s giving me more to do.” Instead they think, “Wow, I’m becoming more of an adult.”
When you think about it, that’s really what kids want. They want to be more like adults when they’re little. You get to be an adult and you want to be a kid, right?
It really is paying attention to your kids. The absolute truth is that your kids are different.
You hear people say, “I raised all my kids exactly the same.” That’s not really a benefit to your kids. Your kids are very different.
My kids love each other. They’re best friends with each other, but they are night and day.
I like to say that when Kate gets older she’ll be like, “Let’s jump off the roof.” And Jack will be like, “Oh, why don’t we jump off the shed? That would be much safer.”
Total opposites. And they balance each other out so well.
You really have to pay attention to what’s really working with your kid? What is this kid ready for?
Just because your first kid was ready to move to the next level at the age of five doesn’t mean your second kid is. And that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them if it’s not until they’re six or seven.
It just means that they’re different and different is a good thing. Different is what makes the whole world go round and makes it an amazing place.
It really is a lot of paying attention and having open conversations. I feel like conversations are one of these things that people forget about. They forget that you can converse with your kids.
It’s not just you talking to them. It’s really like, “What do you think? How do you feel about this?” And getting into it together.
I think that’s really how you customize things so they truly do work for you because that’s really what it’s all about. It’s about creating a life for ourselves and for our families that really feels good.
Isn’t that what we’re all after? A little bit of happiness. It’s not about checking things off your list.
Now, I know people are like, “Wait, she’s a productivity expert. Shouldn’t we be checking things off the list?”
That is not what life is about, and that is not how I talk about productivity at all. It’s not about doing more. It’s doing what’s most important and really reveling, savoring, enjoying the time that we have with our kids.
ALLIE: Can you give us an example of what that looks like for you? I know you’re a business owner. I know you’re running this company. You’re busy.
You and I are similar. I think we’re drawn to each other because we both are living this very full life where our motherhood, our marriages, and our family are very full, busy, good, and happy. And our businesses are also very full, busy, and happy. It’s both things.
One of the things that I have seen in your book is that when you say, “Yes,” to something you’re saying, “No,” to something else. It’s this perspective of, “This is a new chance. This is an opportunity. This is good.”
I would love to know some more practical things from you of what that looks like. I don’t want to say the word “balance” because that’s not really what we should be chasing.
TONYA: No, we don’t want balance. I think that balance is one of those buzz words we hear a lot. Oh, the mythical balance.
I like to tell people, first of all, balance doesn’t exist. Second of all, we don’t really want it because if life is perfectly balanced, if all things are truly equal, we’re not really leaning into any areas of our life. We’re just so busy staying balanced.
I talk about this example in the book. It’s like being on a bike. If you’re on a bike, you’re perfectly balanced and that’s fine as long as you want to go on that same old path you’ve always been on.
But if you want to turn left, you have to lean to the left. You have to move your center of gravity over. You can’t stay leaned over too long because you’ll fall, you’ll scrape your knee. You have to counterbalance to right yourself up.
Then if you want to turn right, you’re going to lean over to the right. But you can choose the direction you go in by leaning and counterbalancing.
I like to tell people we have these three areas of our life. We have our personal life, our home life, and our work life, and different times require different amounts of leaning.
There are seasons when maybe you’re launching something, or you’re working on a new product, or you’re doing those types of things where you need to lean more heavily into work, so you’re not leaning as much into your home life or your personal space. Now you can’t stay leaned too long because you’ll fall and scrape your knee, right? You have to counterbalance.
I like to look at it in terms of either months or quarters. For a quarter I will lean into my work compartment, and then I will counterbalance and lean a little more heavily into my home life or I’ll lean more heavily into a personal goal or something like that and then I’ll counterbalance.
It’s this whole series of leaning and counterbalancing. Because if you truly want to grow in any area, that doesn’t happen unless you give it your three most precious resources of time, energy and focus.
So, if you’re really wanting to do something really big with your work or your business, you need to lean more heavily in that compartment. Now that time, energy and focus has to come from somewhere else. It might come from time with your family or it might come from leaning a little bit away from a personal goal and that’s okay for a season.
Then we need a counterbalance and we can lean back into that compartment. Because here’s the thing, when we pour ourselves fully into these different compartments, that’s when we see growth.
That’s when we see steps being made to that ideal version of what we really want in our lives. We have to pour ourselves in and then we counterbalance and we lean into another direction.
That’s the idea of harmony that we really talk about throughout the book and that we really want. It really is this idea that we are more than just one role or one person.
We are a lot of different things. And there are different times that we need to lean and counterbalance and then lean again and counterbalance.
So, let’s stop chasing after balance. We don’t want it to be perfectly even. We want to give ourselves fully to the different areas of our lives at different times.
ALLIE: It feels so natural to me to do that. I’ll naturally get a little bit tired in my work and think, “Man, we just met a huge goal. I’d really like to pull back, let it run itself for a little bit, check in every day but not really be working so much on this. I want to have more family time, take the kids to the beach and the park, and just relax a little bit more.”
Pretty much every day I’m doing some amount of work. Even if it’s a weekend, my brain is always thinking about my business.
I love what I do. I’m always working.
I’m always raising my family. I’m always cultivating my marriage. Whether that’s good or bad, you’re always doing these things.
That feels very aligned and natural for me to say that in this season I’m really focusing on my business, and this season I’m really letting go of that and letting Hayley run it while I focus on my family, even though I’m still in the office, checking in, and having meetings and stuff.
TONYA: That’s that whole flexibility that we talked about earlier. That’s why I’m not for that rigidity where it’s so much structure because you need to have that ebb and flow. Those different seasons require different parts of you.
You and I were talking the other day about my book launch and what that looked like. When my book came out, that was the season where I was leaning so much harder into my work compartment. Talking about the book, going on lots of podcasts, doing different TV interviews, and doing all kinds of things for the book.
So, before I got to the book launch, I leaned really heavily into the family compartment and I poured a lot of myself into them. I told them, “Okay, when we get to October, it’s going to get a little bit crazy and I’m going to be more focused on work. I need you all to understand what that’s gonna look like.”
We had conversations about it and then I did lean. I leaned heavily into my work compartment when it was time to have the book come out and launch it into the world.
Then after that season I needed to lean back into the family. I poured myself fully into my family, focusing on them. It is this continual leaning, then counterbalancing and then leaning again.
ALLIE: Everything works like that. Everything is cyclical and seasonal. Even the way our bodies function.
I’ve been really into intuitive eating lately and it’s crazy because I was telling a friend that when I really pause and ask my body what sounds good it’s always something that is seasonal right then, like a fruit or vegetable that is in season.
It’s the weirdest thing. Then she said, “Oh, there’s a book about that.”
I’m reading this book by the cofounder of The Whole 30. Literally this book says that exists.
That’s how we’re created. Everything works in seasons and cycles.
Our menstrual cycle, there’s so much science in that too. Everything is supposed to ebb and flow.
I was thinking about the business and how I am such a pusher, such a doer, super ambitious. What would happen if I allowed myself space to pull back sometimes so that when I am feeling like I want to go hard, I could go even harder and really move the needle forward? And that has been really huge for me this year in my business.
TONYA: It makes such a huge difference. I’m a huge advocate for unplugging from your business for certain periods of time.
At least twice a year, I go away. I do one trip with my husband where we go away and we fully unplug.
And by unplug, I mean even unplugged from my kids, where I am not calling them while I’m on my vacation. I am there to pour myself 1000% into my marriage, into my husband, and really work on that relationship.
I don’t answer emails. My team doesn’t even email me during those times.
Then I go on another vacation usually later in the year for our family and it’s all of us. I fully unplug and I find that when I do that, it’s great because it allows me to check to make sure my systems at work are working and that work can truly run without me.
When you set up your business so that it runs with structure and with some systems and people are empowered to make decisions and choices (kind of like with your kids, it’s the same thing with your teams at work), it makes it so much easier to step away and take those inhales.
So often we feel like we have to go, go, go, go, go. And really we need to inhale so we can exhale.
ALLIE: That’s so good!
Okay, friends, we stopped here because Tonya and I kept talking for so long. It’s such good, good stuff. We split this giant episode into two.
Next week we’re going to continue this conversation with Tonya and we’re going to shift gears into pursuing your purpose as a mom when your kids are little and what that looks like internally, spiritually, and also super practically.
We’ll talk about what to do with your kids while you’re working and you’re trying to build something. It’s so good!
Come back next week to hear from Tonya! But in the meantime, remember to go to alliecasazza.com/bookclub so you can get Tanya’s book The Joy Of Missing Out and join the Facebook community where we are going to have Book Club with her this month.
See you guys next time!
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.
Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.
I am always rooting for you, friend! See ya next time!